COMMON PARASITES OF CATS:
Today all the common parasites found in or on the cat can be effectively, economically, and safely controlled. There is no reason for cats to have fleas. We have the answer; in fact we have many successful answers in good, safe products for fleas. Fleas need to be prevented since they not only cause suffering, anemia and hair loss but blood born diseases such as Bartonella, a bacteria responsible for cat scratch fever in humans, and, possibly, Haemobartenella (old name), a cause of serious anemia. Tapeworms, flea bite dermatitis and flea allergic dermatitis are common annoying sequelae of flea infestations. It is less expensive to treat the cat for fleas then to treat the premises for fleas. We have worked out safe, effective protocols for dealing with fleas on your cat. Generally, if topicals are being used for flea control, it is rational to use a product that also deworms and protects against heartworm disease in cats (which cats do not do well with, generally)
Tapeworms are common in cats, the result of ingestion of fleas during grooming. They are not infectious cat to cat or to humans. The owner usually diagnoses the problem by observing the proglotids or end segments (tiny white worm-like structures) which emerge from the cat’s anus and move along the hair, dropping onto the bedding. These dry into structures resembling brown rice or sesame seeds. They contain hundreds of tapeworm eggs and provide food for flea larvae that consume them and in turn, as hatched fleas, ingested by cats (or dogs), develop into tapeworms and complete the cycle.
Heartworm, carried by mosquitoes, is a silent and insidious killer of cats in Florida. Because cats are not the preferred host of this parasite, once infected, cats react more seriously to the parasite’s presence and cats, unlike dogs, cannot be treated for heartworm. Inside cats are at almost as great a risk for heartworm infection as their outdoor counterparts. Heartworm disease can be easily prevented with monthly topical or oral preventatives (these are both prescription items). The topicals also deworm your cat and protect against fleas.
Ringworm is a fungal infection found primarily in kittens or immuno-suppressed adults. It is infectious to young children and young adults. New treatment protocols have made this a much more easily and safely treatable condition. However, even with our new drugs, tincture of time and frequent bathing may still be required.
Ear mites are commonly found in kittens, especially those coming from shelter situations or feral random bred homes. Highly infectious and irritating…they can spread from kitten to cat within the household. Again, specific topicals (systemic or local) work well for these infestations with very little effort on your part (as opposed to the old days). The video below is of ear mites as seen under a microscope. These ear mites were collected in an ear swab from a kitten who is a patient at CCAC.
Note: Over the counter brands of dewormers, and flea and tick remedies have two things in common, 1) they are not very effective against the target pest and 2) they are more toxic for your pet. Avoid them. The same goes for flea and tick collars which also pose a physical danger to a cat since they are not designed to break away if the cat gets entangled, can cause skin reactions, and in one case presented to CCAC, got caught in the cat’s mouth whereupon the ingested toxin caused the cat to seizure.